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12-04-2011, 11:26 PM   #16
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Um...format SD card?

Is this something more than just deleting old pics off of it? LOL, I've been using the same 8G and 16G cards for the past year, never formatted either I don't think. I take it this is something I should pay attention to.

12-04-2011, 11:32 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by pixelsaurus Quote
Every time I put it back in the camera after downloading the images, and I format in the cam. The last time I let the laptop do it, I had a dead 4Gb card.
Same here.
12-04-2011, 11:57 PM - 1 Like   #18
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I only format when using a card from another camera. Otherwise after the first time, never. Every format shortens the life of the card (somewhat) by the way and in any case, when you format you aren't erasing or treating the entire card capacity, only the FAT (File allocation table) it rewritten.
Just use good quality cards.
12-05-2011, 01:08 AM   #19
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Never, only if I start to encounter problems.

I cut and paste the pics to my computer so they get deleted as they are being moved.

"Good" 32GB cards ain't cheap and I don't want to wear it out by formatting all the time.

I have: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820178337

Someday I want this: http://www3.pny.com/64GB-Professional-X-Series-SDXC-CL10-200X-font-colordc04...P3053C480.aspx


Last edited by TechGuru; 12-05-2011 at 01:18 AM.
12-05-2011, 01:40 AM - 1 Like   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by sledger Quote
I only format when using a card from another camera. Otherwise after the first time, never. Every format shortens the life of the card (somewhat) by the way and in any case, when you format you aren't erasing or treating the entire card capacity, only the FAT (File allocation table) it rewritten.
Just use good quality cards.
Exactly right. When do I reformat? Never, if possible. I've run AV devices with memory cards in many formats (CF, SM, MS, MMC, SD, xD) for about 15 years and I doubt that I've performed 15 reformats total in that time. I can think of maybe 6 times where an in-use card has failed, and I've reformatted in order to 'save' it -- with maybe 3 off-brand cards flunking. With any new card, I do an initial full format and error-check scan. I've flunked maybe 3 cards at that step, and never an SD card.

Why? Because of the life shortening; and because I build a common directory structure on all my cards in each format. And I load a common script onto each card, written to rename and move files to the correct destination on a hard disc. Reformatting destroys that, and it's a minor pain to rebuild it, so I don't reformat.
12-05-2011, 01:50 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
I also say a prayer to the god of the 0's & 1's every time I remove the card from the camera to plug into the computer. Wouldn't it be great if someone could invent a way where a camera could hold an extra SD card so photos could be written to both in case one card fails
You could use one of them WiFi SD cards and carry a laptop or tablet with you and have it setup to automatically copy to the device over WiFi as you take them.

Eye-Fi Mobile X2 wireless memory card: instant uploads from your camera | Eye-Fi

Eye-Fi Pro X2 8GB Wireless SDHC Card - simply the most powerful memory card yet | Eye-Fi
12-05-2011, 02:52 PM   #22
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I never reformat. If the card is flakey it's going in the garbage, if the card is not flakey there is no technical reason to reformat.
12-05-2011, 03:10 PM   #23
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I've seen it mentioned a couple of times, but formating does not wear the card out. Formating just resets the FAT, it doesn't write zeros to every bit on the card. My understanding is that Formatting is actualy quciker than deleting and results in less write activity to the card.

12-05-2011, 03:26 PM   #24
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I have always reformatted after I have transferred to my pc and or iPad.

I was under the impression that because stuff is stored on these cards in a somewhat haphazard way. Data goes to the first space that is the right size or bigger than what is needed therefore if you have deleted rather reformatted the more you try to store stuff the harder it gets for it to find the best place for it.

Now I am quite happy to be told this is a bunch of bull and that I don't have to worry about it.

bigted
12-05-2011, 03:52 PM   #25
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I always format after import as well.
12-05-2011, 03:57 PM   #26
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Deleting a FAT file changes only one byte per deleted file.
12-05-2011, 03:57 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
I've seen it mentioned a couple of times, but formating does not wear the card out.
Not accurate information. Please read: Flash memory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia In particular 'Memory Wear'

Also please see: Secure Digital - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

QuoteQuote:
Risks of reformatting
Reformatting an SD card with a different file system, or even with the same one, may make the card slower, or shorten its lifespan. Some cards use wear leveling, in which frequently modified blocks are mapped to different portions of memory at different times, and some wear-leveling algorithms are designed for the access patterns typical of the file allocation table on a FAT16 or FAT32 device.[67] In addition, the preformatted file system may use a cluster size that matches the erase region of the physical memory on the card; reformatting may change the cluster size and make writes less efficient.
12-05-2011, 04:00 PM   #28
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I reformat every time I put the card in the camera. If I just delete from Aperture, it leaves a folder from every day I shoot. Formatting is faster than deleting. The way Aperture works, if image files are still on the camera, after I've gone through them and deleted the ones I don't want.. Aperture will ask me if I want to import them again and I have to click them "off". It wastes time leaving them on the card.

Faster deleting.. saves time, more thorough deleting, removes folders as well as image files, all my organizing is done in Aperture, organizing manually would seem pointless, and time consuming with no benefit. I guess if all your software is destructive so you can't get the original files back, maybe leaving them on the card makes sense. Aperture is non-destructive, I always have access to the original raw image and my backups are done automatically each hour from time machine without me even thinking about it.... deleting individual files actually makes much more use of the SD card than a format does as the directory is over written once for each file.100 files deleted = 100 directory writes, one format= one directory write, save your card, don't delete, format.

So what was the point of not formatting again?

Last edited by normhead; 12-05-2011 at 04:20 PM.
12-05-2011, 04:13 PM   #29
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The real question is: Does it really matter?

The wiki page also states "Most commercially available flash products are guaranteed to withstand around 100,000 P/E cycles, before the wear begins to deteriorate the integrity of the storage" - and up to 1.000.000.

People are probably going to buy cameras many many times before the SD card gives up.

Even if someone formats every single day it's really not going to matter that much.
12-05-2011, 04:42 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
deleting individual files actually makes much more use of the SD card than a format does as the directory is over written once for each file.100 files deleted = 100 directory writes, one format= one directory write, save your card, don't delete, format.
So what was the point of not formatting again?
Norm, this is not accurate. The writes are done a byte ( or sometimes a nibble (4 bits, half a byte)) at a time. This means deleting 100 files will be at least 100 bytes to change and 100 writes. Formating will be more bytes and writes, how much more depends on how the "format" was designed.

I move (with drag and drop) folders from the card to the HD. Done, no fuss no muss. I see it as what's the point of formating.


QuoteOriginally posted by Zafar Iqbal Quote
Does it really matter?
It doesn't to me, different strokes for different folks.
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